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Maria Trochimezuk, founder of IOScholarships. Photo courtesy of Maria Trochimezuk
Maria Trochimezuk, founder of IOScholarships. Photo courtesy of Maria Trochimezuk

Scholarship platform helps students of color pay for STEM education

María Trochimezuk created IOScholarships to connect students of color in STEM to scholarships and resources.

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The National Scholarships Provider Association (NSPA) reports that each year around $100 million in scholarships aren’t awarded due to an insufficient number of applicants

María Trochimezuk is helping Latino, Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American students access almost $38 million in scholarships. Trochimezuk created IOScholarships, a platform that helps diverse high school and college students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) find things like scholarships, internships, and resources. The site also features scholarships aimed at Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.  

The site is a part of NSPA and has given 11,000 students access to scholarships since it was founded in March 2021. 

Trochimezuk herself understands the power of scholarships. She was able to pay off her entire education in the United States with scholarships and grants. She moved to the U.S. from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a postgraduate scholarship from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2000. She went on to be selected for the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. 

Trochimezuk previously worked as a spokesperson for Tuition Funding Sources (TFS), another scholarship database. Where Trochimezuk’s platform focuses on STEM, TFS is more general. 

She initially funded the platform with her savings, before getting a grant from Google’s Ureeka PowerUp program. This program helps small, Latino-owned businesses in California, Texas, and New York with grant funding and business coaching. 

Trochimezuk’s goal with IOScholarships is to get more children of color to pursue STEM jobs and graduate debt-free. As it stands now, STEM is overwhelmingly white. 

According to a Pew Research study, 63% of the total workforce is white, while 67% of those in STEM-related jobs are white. Latinos and Black people make up only 8% and 9% of STEM jobs, respectively. Latinos make up 17% of the total workforce and Black people make up 11%. 

The only other group that has a higher percentage of people in STEM than the percent in the total workforce is Asian people. Asian people make up 6% of the workforce and 11% are in STEM-related jobs. 

Trochimezuk believes that more diversity in STEM will benefit everyone. She told NBC News, “Diversity is good for growth — you can create products, apps, and technology from people with different perspectives so that the end product is better for everybody, it's better for the corporation, it's better for the consumer.” 

 

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